You are on page 1of 12

Issue 386

Copyright © 2011-2016 All Rights Reserved.


p2 How the Coronavirus May Impact

Welcome to the 386th edition of the
Singapore Property Weekly.
Properties – Lessons from SARS
Hope you like it!
p10 Resale Property Transactions
Mr. Propwise
(February 4 – February 11)

Contribute Advertise
Do you have articles and insights and articles that you’d like to share Want to get your brand, product, service or property listing out to
with thousands of readers interested in the Singapore property thousands of Singapore property investors at a very reasonable
market? Send them to us at, and if they’re good cost? Head over to to find out more.
enough, we’ll publish them here, on our blog and even on Yahoo!

How the Coronavirus May Impact Properties – Lessons

from SARS
By Property Soul (guest contributor) updates on the coronavirus than auspicious
greetings. Instead of last-minute shopping for
Chinese New Year goodies, there was a
frantic search for surgical masks and hand
sanitizers, especially after the Ministry of
Health assured the public that there is
sufficient stock of masks to go around (and all
of them are going, going, gone).

How deadly is coronavirus?

SARS happened between November 2002

and July 2003, with 8,098 cases and a death
toll of 774 in seventeen countries. In
This Year of the Rat is not just another Lunar Singapore, 238 people were infected and 33
New Year. Everyone received far more died.

Back to Contents Page | 2


It is still early to tell the severity of the new their homes when they may not be able to
round of epidemic outbreak. Given the two- service their existing loan?
week incubation period, the number of cases
A deadly disease can trigger the domino
and deaths could rise in the coming weeks.
effect in many industries: The travel industry
According to the Singapore Tourism Board, catches the flu first, before spreading it to
3.4 million visitors from mainland China came hotels, F&B, retail and manufacturing. In real
to Singapore in 2018, making it the top estate, it hit the hotels first, followed by the
country for inbound visitors. In 1st quarter retail, office, industrial and residential
2019, Chinese tourists were our biggest property sectors.
spenders. Nearly a million Chinese visitors
Industries that catch the flu
spent over $1 billion (excluding sightseeing,
entertainment and gaming) here, with half of As the saying goes, pray for the best and
the amount spent on shopping. prepare for the worst. Let’s go back in time to
review what happened during SARS in 2003
Without their patronage, how will that affect
to get some hints on what may happen with
the business of our airlines, hotels, retail and
coronavirus in 2020.
casinos? With poor quarterly results, how can
companies continue to take up so much office The first SARS case in Singapore was
space and employ so many staff? With the reported on March 1, 2003. For the month of
threat of retrenchment, who dares to upgrade March, visitor arrivals fell by 15 percent.

Back to Contents Page | 3


By April 13, the number plunged 61 percent. To avoid mass layoff of unskilled labor in
hotels, the foreign worker levy was halved
For the following few months, the Singapore
and training grants were increased. On April
government advised the public to stay home.
24, there were additional relief measures for
Travelers coming back home were required to
about 100 gazetted tourist hotels. They were
self-quarantine. Hotel rooms and tourist
given a rebate of $2,000 plus 30 percent of
places were almost empty. Shopping malls
the property tax payable with effect from May.
and restaurants were dead quiet.
InterContinental’s Asia Pacific revenue was
Relief measures from the government came
down 27 percent year-on-year in 2003. For
to the rescue. On April 17, the government
this round, the financial loss of individual
announced a comprehensive S$230 million
hotels will depend on their percentage of
relief package to help counter the economic
business and their number of rooms in China
impact of the SARS outbreak. To help the
and coronavirus-affected countries.
travel industry, there was 30 percent rebate
on aircraft landing fees and a 50 percent 2. The office sector
reduction in port dues for cruise ships. A
SARS came at a bad time when the office
bridging loan program was introduced for
market was underperforming. Already
tourism-related SMEs.
hammered by oversupply of office space,
1. The hotel sector office rents plunged to a 14-year low in the
1st quarter.
Hotels were hard hit by high vacancy rates.

Back to Contents Page | 4


According to JLL, prime office rents dropped economy had already been affected by the
21 percent. Monthly rentals of offices in dotcom bubble, US recession and the Iraq
Raffles Place were down 20.7 percent to War. The Private residential property price
$5.45 psf. index fell 37 percent from the peak of 129.7 in
2nd quarter 1996 to 81.6 in 1st quarter 2003.
3. The retail sector
On March 1, 2003, the government finally
By mid-April 2003, retail sales declined 10 to suspended the seller’s stamp duty on
50 percent. Restaurant owners saw their residential properties imposed since 1996.
revenue being halved. On April 24, the
With an increase in retrenchment, the
government announced property tax rebate
unemployment rate in Singapore jumped to
packages for owners of commercial
4.8 percent in 3rd quarter 2003 from 3.6
properties, including shops, F&B outlets,
percent before SARS outbreak. The jobless
childcare centres, cinemas and theme parks.
rate was at record level. Bankruptcy was also
This time, the coronavirus relief package will at the highest level since the Asian Financial
depend on the virus’ severity and impact on Crisis in 1999. The number of bankruptcies
the Singapore economy. climbed 23 percent in the first seven months
What happened to the residential property and increased 26 percent from a year earlier.
market during SARS? By September 2003, individual bankruptcies
had risen 44 percent from a year ago.
Before SARS broke out, the Singapore

Back to Contents Page | 5


In 1st quarter 2003, the number of mortgagee $15.5 million or $354 psf through mortgagee
sales rose to a record of 488, an increase of sale. It was a 22.5 percent discount from the
19 percent from the previous quarter. Many asking price of $20 million. The freehold
people were downgrading from private commercial and residential building at Bukit
properties to HDB flats. Prices of private Timah Road had a price tag of $51 million
homes slipped to their lowest since 1999. back in 1997.

On the other hand, cash-rich buyers were What happened to the industry
able to bag some good deals in 2003: stakeholders?

1) In July, OCBC Bank sold 11 of the 27 To launch or not to launch, that is the
mortgagee units at Robin Regalia, a freehold question.
condo at Robin Road, at 30 percent discount
Developers faced the dilemma of holding
with average selling price of $700 psf.
back projects or proceeding to launch during
2) One of the twelve freehold detached the SARS crisis. If they launched, the new
houses at The Glencaird Residences was units had to be priced to sell. If they didn’t
sold for $8 million. The buyer bought the launch, there would be no revenue for the
15,000 sq ft Good Class Bungalow at District coming quarter. But low margins were still
10 for $526 psf only. better than no sales. Some developers
decided to slash prices for new projects and
3) In August, Cluny Court changed hands at
to offload units on hand.

Back to Contents Page | 6


Below is the list of new projects launched loan departments, conveyancing lawyers and
between April and June 2003: renovation contractors. Smaller contractors
were asked by the insurance companies to
1) The Pier@Robertson by CDL;
pay a hefty sum as guarantees for
2) Gardenvista by Far East ;
developers. By May 2003, the construction
3) East Shine by Fragrance Properties;
industry shrunk by 12 percent.
4) Stevens Loft by Singapore Land; and
5) Icon by Far East. What can 2003 tell us about 2020?

Only 506 new units were launched by It is a dilemma for the property market: We
developers in 1sst quarter 2003. By the end don’t want to see a free fall of home prices in
of the year, a total of 5,216 new units were 2020. But if that doesn’t happen, it won’t
launched, a 45 percent decline from 9,507 trigger any relaxation of cooling measures
units in the previous year in 2002. With over imposed by the government over the past few
30 new projects to launch in 2020, guess years. Taking the hint from 2003, the relief
what will be the decision of developers? package is likely to include property tax
rebates and a waiving of seller’s stamp duty.
Facing uncertainties on their current jobs,
more people joined the real estate industry as Is it a good time to buy properties during a
a full-time or part-time property agent. crisis? Yes and no.

Other property-related businesses affected by You may be excited by the idea if you are a
the market downturn included banks’ housing value investor like me.

Back to Contents Page | 7


Back then, Pier@Robertson was launched at business at that time.

a bargain price of $900 psf in May 2003. Now
However, recovery of the property market
a unit at the freehold condo is valued at
takes time. It can’t immediately spring back to
$2,000 psf. The following month Far East sold
its previous height after a major correction.
Icon at $700 psf. Prices of the Tanjong Pagar
Every time when a country survives a
condo are now at $1,700 psf.
recession, it takes some time for the
But the real good deals were in the resale economy to get back on track before the
market. There were many fire sales and bottom-out of property prices.
prices were very negotiable. Between March
Even if you have the financial means to enter
and June 2003, I went for thirty-seven flat
the market during the bad times, you must be
viewings and bought a bank sale unit by the
prepared to wait out the storm. Don’t be
end of June. I picked it up at $300 psf and
surprised by a prolonged slump in home
sold it seven years later at $670 psf.
prices that shows no sign of abating. It may
Personally, I felt safe going for flat viewings take a year or two, or the bad days may linger
during the SARS period because I was the for years. When SARS was cleared, the
only buyer there most of the time. The doors private home market continued to be weak. It
and windows were opened. The only person I didn’t really pick up until the second half of
was exposed to was the property agent. The 2006.
risk was low since the agents didn’t get much

Back to Contents Page | 8


It is critical to have holding power. Make sure yes, the recovery curve is likely to be a U-
the rent of your investment property can well shape than a V-shape. And the size of the U-
cover the mortgage and expenses. If you buy shape will be anyone’s guess.
the wrong thing, it is difficult to sell. Flat
By guest contributor Property Soul, a
viewing, let alone buying, is the last thing on
successful property investor, blogger, and
people’s mind in a crisis.
author of the No B.S. Guide to Property
The length and depth for the spread of Investment.
coronavirus will determine its impact on the
Singapore economy and the property market.
The longer it lasts, the poorer our economy,
the higher the unemployment rate, and the
softer the property market.

Recovery will depend on how strong the

fundamentals of Singapore’s economy and
the real estate market. Are they already
slowing down before the arrival of the black
swan? Is there already a big supply and
demand imbalance in the market before the
onset of the epidemic? If the answers are

Back to Contents Page | 9


Non-Landed Residential Resale Property Transactions for the Week of Feb 4 – Feb 11

Postal Area Transacted Price Postal Area Transacted Price

Project Name Tenure Project Name Tenure
District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf) District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf)
1 MARINA ONE RESIDENCES 1,582 3,833,500 2,423 99 9 MOUNT SOPHIA SUITES 431 805,000 1,870 FH
1 MARINA ONE RESIDENCES 732 1,669,962 2,282 99 9 STARLIGHT SUITES 1,055 1,850,000 1,754 FH
1 MARINA ONE RESIDENCES 753 1,705,493 2,263 99 9 WATERMARK ROBERTSON QUAY 1,916 3,065,600 1,600 FH
1 MARINA ONE RESIDENCES 1,593 3,496,452 2,195 99 9 CAVENAGH HOUSE 1,604 2,550,000 1,590 FH
3 THE CREST 936 1,850,000 1,976 99 10 LE NOUVEL ARDMORE 3,940 16,800,000 4,264 FH
3 THE METROPOLITAN CONDOMINIUM 786 1,220,000 1,553 99 10 NOUVEL 18 1,335 4,528,000 3,392 FH
3 ASCENTIA SKY 1,475 2,120,000 1,438 99 10 THE NASSIM 5,307 15,100,000 2,845 FH
3 TANGLIN VIEW 1,927 2,500,000 1,298 99 10 CUSCADEN RESIDENCES 1,453 3,438,000 2,366 FH
3 CLYDESVIEW 2,088 2,600,000 1,245 FH 10 LEEDON RESIDENCE 2,110 4,950,000 2,346 FH
4 REFLECTIONS AT KEPPEL BAY 3,078 5,380,000 1,748 99 10 D'LEEDON 1,722 2,780,000 1,614 99
5 THE ROCHESTER RESIDENCES 1,206 1,830,000 1,518 99 10 SPRING GROVE 1,389 2,050,000 1,476 99
5 HUNDRED TREES 915 1,200,000 1,312 956 11 THE GLYNDEBOURNE 1,475 3,100,000 2,102 FH
5 BLUE HORIZON 1,184 1,200,000 1,013 99 11 THE GLYNDEBOURNE 1,475 3,080,000 2,089 FH
5 VARSITY PARK CONDOMINIUM 2,325 2,160,000 929 99 11 L'VIV 614 1,210,000 1,972 FH
5 NEWEST 2,551 1,950,000 764 956 11 AMARYLLIS VILLE 1,690 2,650,000 1,568 99
7 BURLINGTON SQUARE 861 1,100,000 1,277 99 12 EIGHT RIVERSUITES 441 760,000 1,722 99
8 THE CITRON RESIDENCES 732 1,100,000 1,503 FH 12 EIGHT RIVERSUITES 1,044 1,320,000 1,264 99
9 2,831 10,140,000 3,582 FH 12 CALARASI 1,184 1,230,000 1,039 FH
THE RITZ-CARLTON RESIDENCES 12 N.A. 1,130 1,168,000 1,033 FH
9 2,831 10,140,000 3,582 FH
9 8 SAINT THOMAS 1,023 2,900,000 2,836 FH 14 GROSVENOR VIEW 1,313 1,430,000 1,089 FH
9 SKYLINE 360 @ SAINT THOMAS WALK 1,733 3,780,000 2,181 FH 14 SIMSVILLE 1,238 1,300,000 1,050 99
9 BELLE VUE RESIDENCES 2,045 3,980,000 1,946 FH 15 AALTO 1,528 2,930,000 1,917 FH

Back to Contents Page | 10


Postal Area Transacted Price Postal Area Transacted Price

Project Name Tenure Project Name Tenure
District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf) District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf)
15 THE ESTA 1,001 1,840,000 1,838 FH 20 FAR HORIZON GARDENS 1,948 1,580,000 811 99
15 THE MAKENA 1,582 2,490,000 1,574 FH 21 CHARISMA VIEW 1,066 1,235,000 1,159 FH
15 THE ATRIA AT MEYER 1,044 1,640,000 1,571 FH 22 LAKEVILLE 775 1,150,000 1,484 99
15 THE SHORE RESIDENCES 1,141 1,770,000 1,551 103 23 HILLINGTON GREEN 990 1,208,000 1,220 999
15 JUPITER 18 581 720,000 1,239 FH 23 HAZEL PARK CONDOMINIUM 1,518 1,800,000 1,186 999
15 MANDARIN GARDENS 732 770,000 1,052 99 23 HAZEL PARK CONDOMINIUM 1,345 1,580,000 1,174 999
15 VILLA MARINA 1,249 1,250,000 1,001 99 23 HILLVIEW RESIDENCE 1,259 1,265,000 1,004 999
15 J COURT 1,249 1,110,000 889 FH 23 PARK NATURA 2,906 2,850,000 981 FH
16 AQUARIUS BY THE PARK 1,227 940,000 766 99 23 HILLINGTON GREEN 1,776 1,710,000 963 999
16 KEW GREEN 3,423 2,230,000 651 99 23 MAYSPRINGS 807 750,000 929 99
17 OCEAN FRONT SUITES 398 528,000 1,326 946 25 ROSEWOOD 1,012 766,000 757 99
18 MELVILLE PARK 936 690,000 737 99 26 HONG HENG GARDEN 2,282 1,450,000 635 FH
18 EASTPOINT GREEN 1,884 1,360,000 722 99 27 ORCHID PARK CONDOMINIUM 1,249 830,000 665 99
18 CHANGI RISE CONDOMINIUM 1,130 815,000 721 99 28 GRANDE VISTA 1,238 1,330,000 1,074 999
19 BARTLEY RESIDENCES 463 760,000 1,642 99 28 SUNRISE GARDENS 1,410 1,080,000 766 99
19 THE SCALA 829 1,200,000 1,448 99
19 BARTLEY RESIDENCES 1,023 1,330,000 1,301 99
19 THE LUXURIE 732 830,000 1,134 99 NOTE: This data only covers non-landed residential resale property
19 SUNGLADE 1,238 1,345,000 1,087 99 transactions with caveats lodged with the Singapore Land Authority.
19 COMPASS HEIGHTS 667 688,000 1,031 99 Typically, caveats are lodged at least 2-3 weeks after a purchaser
19 THE QUARTZ 1,076 1,100,000 1,022 99 signs an OTP, hence the lagged nature of the data.
19 FLO RESIDENCE 861 835,000 970 99
19 REGENTVILLE 1,076 820,000 762 99
19 EVERGREEN PARK 1,076 800,000 743 99
20 SKY VUE 797 1,380,000 1,733 99
20 GRANDEUR 8 1,259 1,270,000 1,008 99

Back to Contents Page | 11